Do you welcome dogs in your hostel?

Tuesday, 26 January 2016 - 7:00am

For 20 years, Dogs Trust has supported dog owners who become homeless to care for their animals. Now they'd like to learn more about the attitudes of hostels to what can often be the most enduring relationship that someone experiencing homelessness has.

Photograph: Ivan Coleman

Dogs Trust would like to hear your views on the issue of accepting dogs in hostels. Whether your hostel already accepts dogs or not, we would be grateful if you could spend a few minutes completing our online survey. We are currently looking at new ways to help hostels become dog-friendly. By completing this survey you can inform our future work and help us to help more homeless people and their dogs.

Dogs Trust has been supporting dog owners who are homeless or in housing crisis for the past 20 years through our Hope Project. Less than 10% of hostels in the UK currently accept dogs, which means that many people are denied access to the help they need simply because they have a dog and are unwilling to give it up.

Photograph: Ivan Coleman

In a recent Hope Project survey, 63% of dog owners said they had been asked to give up their dog in order to get into accommodation. Yet we know from our own experience of working with dog owners that most would rather remain on the streets than be forced to give up their four legged friend. 82% of dog owners who took part in our survey told us that their dog was their best friend. That’s why it’s so important that more hostels begin accepting dogs.

As well as our work with hostels, Dogs Trust also provides a veterinary service. We know that most homeless people will struggle to afford even basic veterinary care for their dogs. We help them to keep their four legged friends happy and healthy during a difficult time in their lives.

Through our veterinary scheme we provide free preventative healthcare as well as subsidising most additional veterinary treatments that a dog may need. This service is particularly valuable to hostels as it gives peace of mind that any dog staying with them can access free flea and worming treatments and vaccinations.

You can find out more about the services that Dogs Trust offers, including advice and resources for hostels and free veterinary care for dogs, on our website

Mark & Bart’s Story

“I lived with a friend of mine for almost 10 years but when he passed away, I had to move out of the house we shared. I had nowhere to go so Bart and I ended up living rough on the streets for nearly 2 months.

Eventually the outreach team found me and I spent the night in the local night shelter. I was in a really bad way at that time so the staff managed to get me and Bart a place in a hostel the following day. If I had stayed on the streets much longer I would probably have died.

Bart means everything to me. He has kept me on the straight and narrow all these years. He means so much to me that I wouldn’t jeopardise him. When we were on the streets he kept me warm and gave me the strength to fight and stay strong. Bart is my best mate.”

Photograph: Olivia Hemingway

Talk To Us

Lynsey Alston

Dogs Trust

Lynsey is Outreach Projects Development Coordinator at Dogs Trust.